Friday, September 14, 2012

Media Notes

We hear a lot about media bias, and a lot of it is justified.  FOX News leans right.  MSNBC goes left.  CNN is supposedly in the middle, but it is really?

I was enjoying a pizza at a restaurant during the Democratic National Convention.  CNN was on the TV above the bar.  The anchor was interviewing some Hollywood star who supports Obama.  There wasn't one critical or challenging question.  None.  However, I'm not sure if this is a case of bias, or merely incompetence.  I'm leaning toward the latter.

NBC Radio Sports made its debut earlier this month.  NBC licenses its name to a company called "Dial Global" and it does the rest.  Right now, there are updates twice per hour, plus talk shows from 7 pm to 5 am.  More shows will be added in the months to come.  Initial impressions?  Solid.  Well done.  Sounds solid and nicely produced.  Unfortunately, it's your average sports talk and not much of a reason to twist a dial.  I've never been a big fan of ESPN Radio or TV, so it's nice to have alternatives, like Yahoo! Sports Radio and FOX Sports radio.  I have no brand loyalty.  I cherry pick what I like from the networks.  By the way, if you want to listen to NBC Radio Sports, you have to hit the internet.  It has yet to pick up a terrestrial affiliate in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area.

I hoped this year would be different.  I sampled the NFL pre game shows on opening weekend, and it's the same old story.  Laughs first, information second.  It is possible to blend the two and keep everyone happy, but they haven't figured out how to do that.  Best of the bunch:  NFL Network, but not by much.

The new set FOX uses for college football and the NFL is spectacular.  The comedy bits, provided by Rob Riggle, are not.

NBC's "Today" is getting some heat for not broadcasting a 9/11 moment of silence.  I don't agree with the editorial decision, but I do respect it.  The people screaming about NBC, including the usual uninformed roster of radio talk show hosts, neglected to mention that other than last year's 10th anniversary, NBC has skipped the moment of silence for the last few years.

After sampling the roster of new and existing TV talk shows...  Lake, Couric, Probst, Williams, Cooper, Harvey, etc...  one thing is abundantly clear.  Phil Donahue was really, really good.

USA Today introduced a redesigned newspaper for today's 20th anniversary.  For better or worse, USA Today changed the print industry.  Publishers were forced into discovering graphics and photographs.  Stories became shorter and snapper.  I'm not sure shorter was a good thing.  I saw some photos of the redesign.  I don't sense much of a change.

David Letterman is being honored by the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.  He is one of the most creative people to ever light up a TV screen.